Converting RSX 7 speed to 105 10 speed



CAD2

New Member
Nov 12, 2006
9
0
0
59
G'Day Guys,

I have an 1996 Cannondale R500 with RSX 7 speed with 53/39 on the front and would like to replace it with a new groupset, probably 105 10 speed.
Am I likely to encounter any problems?

Would there be anything going on with the frame that would restrict me from doing this?

Part of my reason for doing this is to increase my poor knowledge on bikes as I hope to do most of the work myself.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
CAD2 said:
G'Day Guys,

I have an 1996 Cannondale R500 with RSX 7 speed with 53/39 on the front and would like to replace it with a new groupset, probably 105 10 speed.
Am I likely to encounter any problems?

Would there be anything going on with the frame that would restrict me from doing this?

Part of my reason for doing this is to increase my poor knowledge on bikes as I hope to do most of the work myself.
SOME, but probably not all, aluminum frames need a longer BB spindle ... that is, I found that with the ISIS & Octalink bottom brackets, you need to use the 118mm spindle that is spec'd for a triple to use a normal ROAD double when the frame is aluminum ... BUT, on MY particular aluminum frames, the rear spacing was 135mm instead of 130mm.

So, if you were to get a crank which uses external BB cups/bearings such as the Shimano 10-speed 105 crankset, then you MAY want to get the TRIPLE and eschew the granny even if only want to use a double crank BECAUSE you can't change the spindle length on those cranks after-the-fact ...

The difference in the Q-factor when installing a triple is only a couple of millimeters on each side ... and, I would rather have the small amount of EXTRA clearance between the crank arms & stays than have only 1mm clearance. Also, if you are using LOOK-type cleats, you have more than that much left-right cleat positioning to compensate.
 

CAD2

New Member
Nov 12, 2006
9
0
0
59
alfeng said:
SOME, but probably not all, aluminum frames need a longer BB spindle ... that is, I found that with the ISIS & Octalink bottom brackets, you need to use the 118mm spindle that is spec'd for a triple to use a normal ROAD double when the frame is aluminum ... BUT, on MY particular aluminum frames, the rear spacing was 135mm instead of 130mm.

So, if you were to get a crank which uses external BB cups/bearings such as the Shimano 10-speed 105 crankset, then you MAY want to get the TRIPLE and eschew the granny even if only want to use a double crank BECAUSE you can't change the spindle length on those cranks after-the-fact ...

The difference in the Q-factor when installing a triple is only a couple of millimeters on each side ... and, I would rather have the small amount of EXTRA clearance between the crank arms & stays than have only 1mm clearance. Also, if you are using LOOK-type cleats, you have more than that much left-right cleat positioning to compensate.
Thanks for the reply alfeng, you certainly know your stuff. I think that this task is beyond me with my limited experience and maybe I should learn a bit more before I start pulling it apart.
Cheers.
smile.gif
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
CAD2 said:
I think that this task is beyond me with my limited experience and maybe I should learn a bit more before I start pulling it apart.
The task of upgrading your bike is NOT beyond your capability unless you have arthritis or some other physical problems.

I only suggested that you spec a triple crank because aluminum bikes often have "fat" chain stays ... and, the longer spindle used on a triple will side-step the issue regardless of the specifics of your frame -- I'm presuming your frame's rear wheel dropout spacing is 130mm, BTW ...

You will need SOME bike specific tools [e.g., BB tool(s), cassette tool, chain tool(s)] ... but, most can be bought from a "hardware" store (e.g., allen wrenches, metric wrenches, etc.).

There's a lot of on-line information (www.parktool.com & other sites) OR you can buy Zinn's book on road bike maintenance which many have recommended (he has one on MTB maintenance, too, which is more frequently updated).
 

artemidorus

New Member
Mar 10, 2004
2,307
0
36
Alfeng, does he need to touch BB/crankset/FD at all? Surely, he can keep all his stock front mech? The only concern would be 10spd chain fitting on to 7spd teeth, but I was not aware that this was a problem. (Certainly 9spd fits on 7spd).
If your frame is steel, you can certainly use a 10spd hub, possibly without even doing a cold set to widen the dropouts, although you would have to exert a little widening force to slip the axle into the frame. You would need a 9/10spd wheel, a 10spd shifter set, a 10spd cassette and a 10spd chain. If your bike has downtube shifters, then you would need to obtain cable guides with or without barrel adjusters to screw on to the downtube in place of the shifters. You should be able to keep both of your current derailleurs, although you might need to replace the current wide jockey wheels with narrow ones (not essential but would give you crisper shifting).
If your frame is alu, then I wouldn't - what you could do instead is use a 9spd shifter and 8 sprockets of a 9spd cluster, with a 9spd chain, to convert your bike to 8spd (if you thought that all that was worth it for one extra gear).
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
artemidorus said:
Alfeng, does he need to touch BB/crankset/FD at all? Surely, he can keep all his stock front mech? The only concern would be 10spd chain fitting on to 7spd teeth, but I was not aware that this was a problem. (Certainly 9spd fits on 7spd).
If your frame is steel, you can certainly use a 10spd hub, possibly without even doing a cold set to widen the dropouts, although you would have to exert a little widening force to slip the axle into the frame. You would need a 9/10spd wheel, a 10spd shifter set, a 10spd cassette and a 10spd chain. If your bike has downtube shifters, then you would need to obtain cable guides with or without barrel adjusters to screw on to the downtube in place of the shifters. You should be able to keep both of your current derailleurs, although you might need to replace the current wide jockey wheels with narrow ones (not essential but would give you crisper shifting).
If your frame is alu, then I wouldn't - what you could do instead is use a 9spd shifter and 8 sprockets of a 9spd cluster, with a 9spd chain, to convert your bike to 8spd (if you thought that all that was worth it for one extra gear).
The crank would NOT need to be changed, as you suggest ... but CAD2 indicated that he wanted to change his group which I took to mean everything ... consequently, the possibilty of "fat" chainstays strikes me as being the only obvious point of possible concern (presuming 130mm rear dropout spacing).

A possible difficulty in using the old crank can be mitigated by changing the chainrings to 10-speed chainrings ... the older 7-and-8-speed rings were barely ramped and not pinned, AFAIK (based on MY older chainrings) ... but, the cost of "new" rings can be steep.

FWIW. My observation is that Campagnolo shifters can handle unramped chainrings without too much (if any) difficulty ...

BTW. Despite the declarations posted by others, the anchor point on the 10-speed Shimano rear derailleurs is DIFFERENT than on the 8-/9-speed Shimano rear derailleurs ... effectively, the 10-speed anchor point is the same as using the www.hubbub.com alternate anchor point based on a quick (2 minute) test that I ran ... your results may vary.

FWIW. I think Cannondale only has one (?), recent, non-aluminium frame; and, it is (of course) carbon fiber.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
artemidorus said:
Alfeng, does he need to touch BB/crankset/FD at all? Surely, he can keep all his stock front mech? The only concern would be 10spd chain fitting on to 7spd teeth, but I was not aware that this was a problem. (Certainly 9spd fits on 7spd).
With regard to the front derailleur ...

If the front shifter is triple capable -- I think that the 105 10-speed only comes as a triple (but, I'm not certain), whereas the Ultegra & DA come in both "flavors" -- then the old front derailleur can PROBABLY be used ... it will require an "extra" index click (which would not be available on a double-only shifter).

I'm basing THAT statement on installing an 8-speed XT front derailleur on a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain -- 9-speed Shimano chain -- where I was able to swing the front derailleur between the "stops" with the "extra" index click.

You cannot properly index a triple with a mismatched chain & front derailleur when using a Shimano indexed shifter based on my observation ... of course, a Campagnolo shifter is more accommodating.
 

Xsmoker

Member
Apr 25, 2003
481
6
0
alfeng said:
You cannot properly index a triple with a mismatched chain & front derailleur when using a Shimano indexed shifter based on my observation ... of course, a Campagnolo shifter is more accommodating.

I agree. I did the 7 to 8 conversion on an AL frame. I upgraded everything, except the FD (Exage 500 EX), to Ultegra 9sp. The FD needs 2 clicks to move between chainrings leaving one trim position. The Ultegra 6500 FD must have a different throw than the 500 EX. I have it dialed so that no trimming is necessary, even when cross-chaining. The bike originally had downtube shifters so I love the upgrade.
 

HandMeDownRider

New Member
Jun 6, 2013
8
0
0
I am making a similar move. 1999 Fuji Touring Series with RSX 3X7 gearing.

Both shifters are totally shot, so I wanted to move to a 9 speed, leaving 3 in front. Probably Shimano 105 if those shifters will do a 3 front (haven't actually looked yet, but that's not my main concern).

My question: Will the RSX RD handle a 9 speed, and anyone know the largest low gear it can handle? Also, (you probably need more info than I can give right now for this one) will my freewheel accept the 9-speed? It does currently have a 7 with a spacer on the inside, so there's room for more, but 9?

I'll make an attempt to answer my own question now: The spacer on the freewheel will make room for an 8 or 9 because the 9er has narrower spacing between gears. The RSX rd will handle the 9 speed cassette just fine as long as the low gear is not too large and the limiter screws are opened up properly. The spacing between gears is handled by the shifter and where its stops are set, not by the derailleur itself. I'll need a narrower chain, presumably, but not sure just yet whether that will work with my current front rings (which are actually pretty new, as is the cassette).

How'd I do?
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
Originally Posted by HandMeDownRider .

I am making a similar move. 1999 Fuji Touring Series with RSX 3X7 gearing.

Both shifters are totally shot, so I wanted to move to a 9 speed, leaving 3 in front. Probably Shimano 105 if those shifters will do a 3 front (haven't actually looked yet, but that's not my main concern).

My question: Will the RSX RD handle a 9 speed, and anyone know the largest low gear it can handle? Also, (you probably need more info than I can give right now for this one) will my freewheel accept the 9-speed? It does currently have a 7 with a spacer on the inside, so there's room for more, but 9?
The RSX Rear Derailleur CAN be used IF you change the pulley wheels ...

  • that is, 5-/6-/7-/8-speed pulley wheels are "thicker" than 9-/10-/11-speed pulley wheels the problem with the derailleurs designed for older drivetrains is that the inner cage will interfere with the spokes, and vice versa, when the chain is engaging the inner most Cog
  • if you are really handy then YOU can narrow the pulley wheel's bushing by an appropriate amount (~1mm)
[*] I do not know the largest gear that the particular RD can handle --- probably, a 32t if you adjust the B-screw ...
[*] if the rear wheel has a Freehub & uses a Cassette then it may-or-may-not be capable of using a 9-/10-speed Cassette
  • as Sheldon Brown observed, you can short-stack a 9-speed Shimano Cassette with only 8-of-9 Cogs on a "compact" Shimano Freehub body if the hub uses a LOCKRING (vs. a threaded final cog)

BTW. I cannot say it often enough, people who are updating their older Shimano drivetrains with new shifters should seriously consider getting a set of 10-or-11-speed Campagnolo shifters BECAUSE the 10-or-11-speed Campagnolo shifters will work (better!) AND be less expensive if you buy them via eBay.

If you opt for Shimano 9-/10-speed shifters then you will ALSO need to change the front derailleur if you plan to use a TRIPLE crankset ...
  • the CORRECT chain will be required
  • I recommend you stick with Shimano's chains

If you opt for Shimano 9/10-speed shifters, then you will ALSO need to change the chainrings ...

If you opt for Campagnolo shifters, then you will not need to change either the front derailleur or chainrings.
 

HandMeDownRider

New Member
Jun 6, 2013
8
0
0
My bad, I used inaccurate language - I have a freehub and cassette, not a freewheel.

So even though I already have a triple front and a FD that works with it, a Shimano 9-speed shifter won't work with that FD?
Point taken re: Campy 10/11. But why on earth would Shimano shifters require changing the front rings and FD, but the Campagnolo do not? I just don't get it.
 

ambal

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2010
905
68
28
I'd just buy a new bike, it would be much less hassle and probably cheaper in the long run.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
Originally Posted by HandMeDownRider .

My bad, I used inaccurate language - I have a freehub and cassette, not a freewheel.

So even though I already have a triple front and a FD that works with it, a Shimano 9-speed shifter won't work with that FD?
Point taken re: Campy 10/11. But why on earth would Shimano shifters require changing the front rings and FD, but the Campagnolo do not? I just don't get it.
Indexed shifters pull the cable a fixed amount particular to the shifter brand & vintage ...

The chain width varies for different "speed" indexing ... the chains are narrower as the number of indexing cogs increases in the rear ...

The cage width varies for different "speed" Shimano front derailleurs ...

There are only enough indexing indents to move the front derailleur cage a fixed amount across the chainrings when using Shimano shifters ...

  • apparently, SRAM engineers must have been told not to set up for a Triple due to something about the Double Tap probably being dodgy if needed to move across too large an arc AND/OR some bean counter telling them not to bother re-engineering the internal mechanism beyond the working prototype

Consequently, if you use too narrow a chain for YOUR existing, older front derailleur then you will find that the chain will not be moved far enough to properly engage the next chainring ...

Campagnolo's older front shifters have more than the necessary amount of indents to allow the chain to traverse THREE chainrings regardless of the vintage of the front derailleur ...

FWIW. Here is a 1980s vintage Shimano Dura Ace front derailleur which I am using on one bike which has Campagnolo shifters & 9-speed Shimano chain ...

It takes FOUR indexing clicks to move the front derailleur between the two chainrings.

I don't have a Triple crank set up at the moment, but it would probably take SEVEN indexing clicks with an older (i.e., wider) front derailleur + narrower 9-speed chain.

  • my immediate recollection is that Campagnolo's older, Xenon-based shifters + Campagnolo's current Ultra Shift & Power Shift shifters only have seven indexed positions for the front derailleur, so I cannot guarantee that they will adequately shift an older Shimano front derailleur across a Triple crankset's chainrings when using a narrower chain

FYI. Based on my experience, Shimano shifters NEED the ramping & pinning which are found on most chainrings now. Shimano front derailleur shifting get's pretty dodgy without ramping & pinning, IMO.

Based on MY on-the-road-tests, Campagnolo shifters do NOT require the chainrings which have ramping & pinning to execute clean shifts between chainrings.

BTW. I think that you will just need to see if your current rear wheel's Freehub body is long enough to accept an 8-/9-/10-speed Cassette.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
252
63
Originally Posted by ambal .

I'd just buy a new bike, it would be much less hassle and probably cheaper in the long run.
FYI. There is no more hassle in converting an older Shimano equipped bike to one with Campagnolo shifters than an individual would experience when doing regular maintenance ...

AND, the cost is considerably less if the individual treats the conversion as either a DIY project ...

OR, if they were to update their bike with Shimano or SRAM components which would need to replace almost ALL the components.